The Boston Cecilia' concert performance of Scott Wheeler' one-act opera on 1st April, 2007, in New England Conservatory' Jordan Hall, was hailed with a Boston Globe headline: "CONSTRUCTION OF BOSTON is a love note to the city". Drawing on a cast of brilli
So Wheeler went on to study privately with Thomson, and later dedicated his first major stage-work, "The Construction of Boston," to his teacher. Premiered in 1989, it's a wonderfully imaginative, smartly whimsical one-act opera/oratorio about the mythical birth of the city of Boston. It's based on a text that Kenneth Koch wrote in the 1960s as a performance piece for the artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint Phalle, and all three actually appear in the work as characters endowed with godlike powers. The score is bright-hued and richly melodic, with a plainspoken feel that nevertheless manages to keep the ear engaged and avoid clichés.
Donald Teeters and the Boston Cecilia chorus have made a first-rate live recording of the work that was released this year on Naxos, with a fine cast of soloists. Listening to the piece, what comes across almost immediately is Wheeler's knack for transparent, elegant vocal writing, something that has also endeared his work to the singers who perform it. "It's the first thing that struck me when I was learning 'Construction of Boston,' " said Krista River, a soloist on the recording. "He sets text extremely well and just writes beautiful melodies, which we don't always get with new music." -- The Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler, September 14, 2008